Conservatives Furious After Chick-Fil-A Ends Funding To Anti-LGBTQ Christian Charities

Chick-fil-A announced on Monday that its charitable foundation will no longer donate to two Christian groups that have long opposed same-sex marriage, a move that led to scorn from conservatives like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who called the decision a “surrender to anti-Christian hate groups.”

The fast-food chain’s foundation, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, donated more than $1.8 million to The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, according to 2017 tax filings.

According to ThinkProgress:

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a religious organization that seeks to spread an anti-LGBTQ message to college athletes and requires a strict “sexual purity” policy for its employees that bars any “homosexual acts.” Paul Anderson Youth Home, a “Christian residential home for trouble youth,” teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is “rage against Jesus Christ and His values.”

The Salvation Army has a long record of opposing legal protections for LGBTQ Americans and at the time of the donations had a written policy of merely complying with local “relevant employment laws.” The organization’s website has since changed to indicate a national policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“We made multi-year commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018,” a spokeswoman for the fast-food giant told Reuters.

The representative added that the foundation plans to focus its giving on “education, homelessness and hunger” in the future.

The spokeswoman declined to say if the move was in response to protests led by LGBTQ activists that have targeted the chain in recent years for its charitable donations and CEO Dan Cathy’s public comments opposing same-sex marriage.

She told Reuters the move was “made to create more clarity.”

The decision by the family-owned chain, whose CEO Dan Cathy said earlier this year that he promised his father he’d uphold Christian values and never open the chain’s restaurants on Sundays, was met with opposition from conservatives online.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) slammed the decision as a surrender “to anti-Christian hate groups.”

He said in a later tweet that the fast-food chain “betrayed loyal customers” for money and added that he regrets “believing they would stay true to convictions of founder Truett Cathey.”

A number of other conservatives also blasted the company over its decision.

The move was met with praise by some LGBT advocates, including GLAAD’s director of campaigns and rapid response, Drew Anderson.

“If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families,” Anderson said in a statement Monday.

LGBT rights campaigner Scott Cuthbertson telling Reuters that “there is always space for people to change their minds and respect LGBT+ equality.”

“We don’t do anyone any justice by bearing anyone any grudges,” he said, adding: “If they want to be trusted by our community, they have to show that our rights are not up for debate.”